U.S. Forest Service: Campfire Safety

There’s nothing that epitomizes the camping experience quite like the campfire. Whether it’s singing songs, making s’mores, or simply staying warm, the campfire is an essential part of camping. To ensure you fully appreciate and enjoy your campfires this summer, the U.S. Forest Service has some great advice for building, maintaining, and putting out campfires safely. 

Building a Campfire:
  • Build campfires away from overhanging branches, steep slopes, rotten stumps, logs, dry grass, and leaves. Pile any extra wood away from the fire.
  • Start with dry twigs and small sticks. Add larger sticks as the fire builds up. Put the largest pieces of wood on last, pointing them toward the center of the fire, and gradually push them into the flames.
  • Be sure your match is out. Hold it until it is cold. Break it so you can feel the charred portion before discarding it.
  • Keep the campfire small. A good bed of coals or a small fire surrounded by rocks give plenty of heat. 
  • Never leave a campfire unattended.
Putting Out a Campfire:
  • Drown the fire with water. Make sure all embers, coals and sticks are wet. Move rocks, there may be burning embers underneath.
  • Stir the remains, add more water, and stir again. Be sure all burned material has been extinguished and cooled. 
  • If you do not have water, use dirt. Mix enough soil and sand with the embers. Continue adding and stirring until all material is cooled.
Always use caution and practice safety around campfires. They can be the highlight of your trip or ruin it quickly. Also, be prepared with any additional camping equipment you may need to stay safe this summer.
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